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School & Child Injury Attorneys

Whether on a playground, in the classroom, on a bus or playing sports, school injuries are a serious concern for today’s parents. Playground injuries can be particularly dangerous; according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 200,000 U.S. children are treated in the emergency room for playground injuries every year. The majority of these injuries occur in schools, day care centers and parks. The CDC also estimates that school sports are responsible for an estimated two million injuries.

Other common school injuries include food-borne illness, defective or poorly-maintained equipment and injuries resulting from negligent student supervision or oversight.

While many of these injuries are minor, others are serious and the result of negligence or abuse. If your child has been injured as the result of such behavior, it’s critically important that you understand the best steps to take.

What to do after your child has been injured

If your child has been injured at school, immediately take steps to ensure that he or she receives proper medical attention. If you did not witness the injury, ask for a detailed description of how the injury occurred. If others witnessed the injury, ask them to provide you with a statement. If the injury is the result of defective equipment or negligent surroundings, take photos or video if possible. It’s also important to understand that school injuries can take place during school hours, at school-sponsored events and during periods of direct supervision by school staff (such as field trips).

If your child requires serious medical attention, keep meticulous records documenting this treatment, along with the expenses you’re accruing. This may include time missed from work, lost wages, transportation costs and medical insurance co-pays and other bills.

Finally, to ensure that your child’s legal rights are protected, you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in school injury cases. This branch of law can be particularly tricky to negotiate, making experienced representation essential.

Commencing a Claim and Filing a Law Suit

Litigation surrounding school injuries is often quite complex. In New York State including the five boroughs of the City of New York there may be Notice of Claim requirement within which it is mandated to file a notice to the municipal agency or municipality of your intention to file a claim for damages. In the case of the Department of Education of the City of New York (DOE) there is such a requirement though at times and in limited circumstances the Notice of Claim period may be extended by court order. This issue may be very complex and you should consult an attorney as soon as possible after the occurrence of any event which may result in legal action. There is also a limited time period within which you are required to file a law suit (distinguished from a Notice of Claim or Notice of Intent to File a Claim). This is called the statute of limitations. In the case of children, the statute may be extended by law due to the fact that they may be a minor (less than 18 years of age). Each circumstance can be unique on the facts and one should not assume that they can take their time to consult with counsel and commence legal action. The best course of action is to intervene early with the assistance of knowledgeable counsel. There may also be evidence which should be preserved in order to prevail in your child’s case. Witnesses very often must be located and prompt and proper notification of parties who are responsible for the health and safety of your child should be effected.

Private schools, may not subject to the same Notice of Claim requirements and they have a different statute of limitations than the Department of Education of the City of New York and other municipal, County, City and State entities. On the other hand, at times there may be overlap in personnel which may implicate the Notice of Claim or the Notice of Intention to File a Claim requirement for a claim involving the malfeasance or negligence of certain individuals.

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